For nonprofits, staying connected and efficiently communicating is a high priority. However, some nonprofits have multiple locations, staff that work in the field, and partners and sponsors across the globe.
TechSoup discusses unified communication (UC), which is a type of internal communication structure that combines text messaging, web conferencing, email, video, and instant messaging, among other technologies to connect employees more effective and efficiently.
So what are some of the top, low-cost technologies that will keep your growing nonprofit connected?
Yes, an obvious one. However, not all nonprofits have an organizational email service with their domain. Other common limitations include a lack of resources to maintain an on-site mail server, not enough funds to add an email service, or unreliable email service.
Another common communication tool that poses maintenance and sometimes service issues. Also, remote employees might not have their own office phone, or always have access too it, making it necessary for staff to include their personal cell phone number as a method of business contact.
Now we are getting into some newer techniques. Your nonprofit might have a on-site server used for file sharing, which is great if you have the time and resources to maintain it. TechSoup reports that 26% of the 2012 survey respondents were using a cloud-based file sharing service.
A great way to connect with partners, sponsors, and others in the nonprofit community overseas or across long distances. There are a lot of great inexpensive web applications that allow you to meet with your network via video chat and share presentations or discuss business.
Years prior to the cloud and web apps, instant messaging was seen as an informal means of communication, yet it has become a vital tool for instant information, similar to text messaging via SMS. Applications connect your company in a closed network, allowing staff to see who is available or online and quickly message them to communication information.
In a 2012 study conducted by TechSoup on nonprofits using the cloud, 55% of responders were using the cloud for email services.
Depending on your nonprofit’s needs, Voice over IP (VoIP), a trending phone technology solution, could cut the costs on phone infrastructure maintenance and make it easier for staff to telecommute with a call-forwarding feature, low to no-cost long-distance calling, and voicemail that can be accessed anywhere, and accessed by email.
The ability to share files, either with an on-premise server or cloud-based hosting service, can cut down on time and keep your staff updated with the latest document versions while collaborating from multiple locations.